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Rabbi Chaim Coffman
Rabbi Coffman has helped people from all across the spectrum to prepare themselves properly for Orthodox Conversion to Judaism. His students admire his vast knowledge and appreciate his warm, personal attention and endearing sense of humor.
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Welcome to Rabbi Chaim Coffman's Blog!

I would like to thank you for visiting my blog, Beyond Orthodox Conversion to Judaism.

The conversion process can be a lengthy and daunting one to say the least and I want you to know that I am here to help you through it.

I have been teaching newcomers to Judaism for over a decade and over the last few years I have seen that conversion candidates really lack the support and knowledge they need to navigate the conversion process and successfully integrate into the Orthodox Jewish community.

I created my mentorship program in order to help make this whole experience as smooth and as painless as possible! (Can't do much about the growing pains, though ;)

Feel free to get to know me a little through the posts on my blog and visit the mentorship and syllabus page if you are interested in possible joining us.

I sincerely wish you all the best in your search for truth and spiritual growth.

Looking forward to meeting you,
Chaim Coffman

My Rebbe, Rav Moshe Sternbuch

In case you were wondering why I have all of these articles written by Rav Moshe Sternbuch, he is my Rebbe, and one of the gedolei hador (greatest Rabbis of our generation).

Rav Sternbuch fully endorses me and supports my mentorship program.

He is the address for all of my halachic or hashkafic (practical and philosophical) questions that I or my students may have.

The articles are based on his weekly talks on the Torah portion that the Rav gives in Jerusalem in his kollel. As a member of the kollel I get first dibbs on the photocopies and I type them up for my blog so you can all benefit from the Rav's erudition and insight.
Thursday, April 30, 2015

Parshas Emor: Don't let your guard down!

"And he that is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not suffer the hair of his head to grow long, nor rend his clothes neither shall he go in to any dead body, nor defile himself for his father or for his mother; neither shall he go out of the sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his G-d; for the crown of the anointing oil of his G-d is upon him" (Leviticus 21: 10-11).

If a member of the high priest's family died whom he was obligated to mourn for (a father, mother, sister, brother or G-d forbid a child), he is not allowed to come in contact with the dead body or even leave the sanctuary to go the funeral. This may seem a bit strange because why should that be? Shouldn't they be allowed to mourn their families like everyone else?

The high priest and the priesthood in general are not like everyone else! They have a specific purpose in serving in the Temple and teaching Torah to the masses. This being the case, their purpose and function is different than others. Their tribe has been chosen for this and they therefore have to guard the holiness of their position.

 This means that although the high priest has an obligation to mourn like everyone else, nonetheless, he is not allowed to leave the hallowed sanctuary to partake in the funeral. Kohanim in general are not allowed to go to funerals or come in contact with dead bodies.

Even though today there is no way to purify ourselves like in the time when the Temple existed, nonetheless they are not allowed to add to the impurity that everyone has today. This teaches us that even though we are on a lower level than our predecessors, nonetheless since the Temple is destroyed and the kohanim practically speaking have lost their "jobs" and can't serve there, they are still not allowed to purposely defile themselves when coming into contact with a dead body!

They are also not allowed to just marry anyone either as the Torah proscribes. Kohanim are held to a higher standard as the Torah tells and have to uphold their holy lifestyle as the teachers of the Jewish people.

They are not allowed to rest on their laurels, so-to-speak but must continue to live according to the ideals the Torah set out even if the Temple has been destroyed. Living in this world then gives them and all of us the ability to be close to G-d, fulfilling His will.

We try to the best of our ability to reach high spiritual levels and not defile ourselves with things that will make us impure. Even if we are unable to purify ourselves as during the time when the Temple existed, it doesn't give us the right to spiritually pollute our souls and add to it.

Day in and day out, we can sometimes get into a rut and be put on automatic pilot when performing the mitzvos. We have to be careful as we say everyday in our prayers that we should look at the world being renewed every day. This means that we look at each day as if it were a new day, being able to accept the Torah anew and continue to serve Him properly.

May we all merit to continue to grow in Torah and mitzvos and see Moshiach speedily in our days!

Shabbat Shalom